John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, Boston hates moshpits; an Illinois town repeals Prohibition; New York City's teachers should stay far away from Facebook.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):
• It is no longer legal to die in the southern Italian town of Falciano del Massico, population 3,700. Mayor Giulio Cesare Fava issued the antideath ordinance earlier this month to solve the problem of the town not having a cemetery. That poses the question: What has Falciano del Massico been doing with all its cadavers these past years? (Lumps in municipal parks should be treated with suspicion.) About the mandatory-immortality clause, the mayor had this to say to the Associated Press: "The ordinance has brought happiness. Unfortunately, two elderly citizens disobeyed."
• Boston is taking a hard stance against moshing in private clubs after a crowd got really wound up at a Flogging Molly concert at the House of Blues in February. Not wound up enough to produce any injuries, mind you; just enough to convince the police department that dancers “colliding into each other” and being “knocked to the ground” was extremely dangerous, according to the Boston Herald. (BPD: Only about three decades behind musical trends.) "Dancing is a First Amendment right," police spokeswoman Nicole Grant told the Herald, "but the behavior itself is a violation, especially when it becomes dangerous and a public safety hazard." The House of Blues now must display lit-up signs forbidding the practice, and the police have vowed to clamp down on any windmills and pogoing they see. That's prompted a radio lashing from no less a personage than GWAR's Oderus Urungus, who wonders if the city's hardcore heads will now take out their aggression in more harmful ways, like burning the town down.
• The Kentucky burgs of Bedford and Milton just got much less groovy with a new county ban on synthetic forms of weed and ecstasy. Any vendor caught selling over-the-counter mind expanders like K2 and spice faces a fine and jail time. Just how these psychedelic Trimble County barn quilts will get made now is anybody's guess.
• Teachers and students interacting over Facebook is weird and potentially harmful to both parties, according to New York City's education department, which is considering banning such social-media intermingling. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott explained to a local radio station that teachers "don’t want to be put in a situation that could either compromise them or be misinterpreted." What's he talking about? Well, there's this Bronx teacher who wrote stuff under his female students' Facebook photos like, "This is sexy," and had this tagline somewhere on his profile: "I'm not a gynecologist, but I'll take a look inside." Or this teacher who gave extra credit to students who friended him. (Hey, everybody wants to be popular.) Or maybe even this educator who, after a 12-year-old student drowned during a school trip to the beach, updated her status with this thought: "After today, I am thinking the beach sounds like a wonderful idea for my 5th graders! I HATE THEIR GUTS!" Actually, that woman was smart – because she hadn't friended any of her students, she got her job back after being fired.
• The tiny village of Mackinaw in Illinois has finally banned Prohibition, only 79 years after the feds passed the ungodly law. The vote was 359 to 114. This progressive move means that townsfolk no longer have to motor to neighboring urban centers like Morton or Tremont to pick up a cold one. The village board president told the Pekin Times that he was working to get alcohol back into Mackinaw "as soon as possible legally."